Amid heightened tensions with Pakistan over Kashmir, India Monday accepted the offer for Consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, the Indian national in Islamabad’s custody. Indian deputy high commissioner in Islamabad Gaurav Ahluwalia will meet Jadhav today.
On Sunday, Pakistan said it would grant consular access to Jadhav on Monday in line with the judgement in his case by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). This is the second time that Pakistan has said it is offering consular access to Jadhav, after a previous move in early August that was rejected by India.
India was “studying” Pakistan’s Sunday evening offer as it did not want the meeting to become a “sham” and a “propaganda exercise”, like the one that took place in December 2017, when Jadhav’s mother and wife went to see him, sources said.
“We hope that Pakistan will ensure right atmosphere so that the meeting is free, fair, meaningful and effective in keeping with the letter and spirit of the ICJ orders,” MEA sources told today.
According to sources, Delhi and Islamabad held negotiations over “privacy” during the meeting between Indian officials and Jadhav. “We don’t want anyone to listen in on our conversation (with Jadhav),” sources said. The two sides also discussed how many Indian representatives will conduct Jadhav’s interview and duration.
India has argued that Article 36, Paragraph 1(a) of the Vienna Convention says that “consular officers shall be free to communicate with nationals of the sending state and to have access to them. Nationals of the sending state shall have the same freedom with respect to communication with and access to consular officers of the sending state.” In this case, India is the “sending state”.
Delhi has also pointed to Paragraph 1(c), which says that “consular officers shall have the right to visit a national of the sending state who is in prison, custody or detention, to converse and correspond with him and to arrange for his legal representation”.
But Islamabad has said that it will follow “Pakistan’s laws” since Article 36, Paragraph 2 says that “the rights referred to in Paragraph 1 of this Article shall be exercised in conformity with the laws and regulations of the receiving state, subject to the proviso, however, that the said laws and regulations must enable full effect to be given to the purposes for which the rights accorded under this Article are intended.”
India has always disputed Pakistan’s claims on Jadhav’s occupational status and maintained that he retired from the Navy and was pursuing his own business when he was abducted from Iran and brought to Pakistan illegally.